Author Topic: Rain  (Read 2596 times)

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Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Rain
« on: May 22, 2011, 07:01:37 am »
This is about more than just gear, but gear is part of the question so I decided to post here.

Until this year I avoided riding in the rain. I'll be on some short (2 to 4 day) tours in the coming months. Cold weather won't be a factor, but the dates are fixed; I have to be prepared to rid in the rain. We had a good shower this week (plenty of rain, not too cold, no lightening) and I took a short 45-minute ride. My brakes didn't work very well. After a quick forum search, I installed salmon Kool Stops. My REI Novara rain jacket worked quite well. I didn't feel the need for rain pants, but then again it was a short ride. My plastic shoes were fine, but my cotton socks soaked up the water right down to my toes. Taking care of the bike when I got home was easy, since I had a nice dry garage handy.

I'm finding I can't imagine how I would cope on the road and in a tent if it rains. I could bring a towel to wipe the bike down, but in the morning I would just have a wet towel to go with my wet bike. Wiping the bike down sounds futile if it's raining anyway. I can't imagine how I would lube the chain in the rain. How would my beloved Brooks saddle survive an overnight soaking? Are rain shoe covers useful, or do the feet just get too hot for comfort?

What are your suggestions for riding in the rain?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Rain
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2011, 08:29:05 am »
I have never worn rain pants while riding when on tour and I don't typically take a day off for rain.  I do wear them in camp sometimes.

Cotton clothing is a no no on tour in my opinion.  Find some socks that work well for you when wet.  I like the inexpensive (4 pairs for about $15) low cut Under Armor polyester ones.

Why bother wiping the bike down?  It won't melt.

What is your worry about dealing with a tent in the rain?  It really isn't a huge deal.  I keep the wet tent out of the panniers so it doesn't get my dry stuff wet.  If the inside is too wet I wipe it down with a washcloth or small tech towel.

Lube a chain in the rain?  I never needed to, it will keep until a dry day unless you tour where it rains all day every day for weeks.

I for one do not take shoe covers on tour.  I wear shoes and socks that are comfy when wet.  If it is below freezing and my feet are wet, I'd put plastic bags on my feet, but I have never had to when on tour.

I am not a Brooks fan so I don't have that to deal with, but a plastic bag or shower cap over the saddle should suffice.

Suggestions for riding in the rain?  Just do it or take a day off if you want.

If you plan on getting a room at all on your tour.  Rainy days are good days for that.  If you have multiple days of rain in a row, it might be a good time to stop at a coin operated laundromat to wash and dry stuff.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Rain
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2011, 09:48:41 am »
For the whole bike, it's possible to get a bike cover.  I use one when it rains at work when commuting, but it's too heavy and bulky to tour with, plus I'm not sure where to stash 40 square feet of wet bike cover.

For the Brooks saddle, I recommend the Aardvark saddle cover
(<http://www.lickbike.com/productpage.php?PART_NUM_SUB='1005-00'>).  Go ahead and get two or three, they sometimes disappear.  Plastic bags will work if they don't leak, ditto shower caps.  The advantages of the Aardvark are that they really are waterproof when new, and you can ride with them in the rain (or extremely humid heat), and they'll keep the saddle dry from rain or sweat dripping off you.  Mine got me through a 3 month tour before it developed a leak.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Rain
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2011, 10:44:44 am »
My 2 cents. Do you have fenders? I do wear full rain gear sometimes, although I do not like the pants. If you want dry feet, get shoe covers. Brooks makes a cover, for your saddle. (I have ridden a Brooks Professional for many years and still rides and looks great) The bike will be fine. As to the tent. I have set up many times in a down pour. It is a state of mind. It can't be helped. Make sure you seam seal the tent and there is a product that seals the tent floor. (I learned the hard way) I can't remember the name, but Campmor has it. Use your tent fly. If you don't have one, purchase a good self inflated matress pad. My tent was flooded but the matress pad saved me. I like my roll top Ortieb's paniers, especially, in the rain. Waterproof! They were floating in my tent. (It was an older Sierra Designs and I neglected to recoat the floor) I might add an outside pocket and new outside mesh pocket, to my Ortliebs. In the summer, there are times I rather ride in the rain. Finally, although in the minority, I like to stay at RV parks. Besides having, showers, pool, whirlpool, laundry facilities, snack machines, they also have a rec room that may be open, so if it gets unbearable, you would have a dry place to sleep.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Rain
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2011, 04:26:21 pm »
One thing I forgot to mention...  I have often pitched my tent out of the rain under a picnic pavilion or gazebo roof.  In the middle of the US small town parks way more often than not are OK to camp in.  When I do that I usually leave the rain fly off.  Either a freestanding tent or one that will stand with only two anchor points helps a lot with this.

Offline happyriding

Re: Rain
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2011, 06:54:38 pm »
I'm finding I can't imagine how I would cope on the road and in a tent if it rains. I could bring a towel to wipe the bike down, but in the morning I would just have a wet towel to go with my wet bike. Wiping the bike down sounds futile if it's raining anyway. I can't imagine how I would lube the chain in the rain. How would my beloved Brooks saddle survive an overnight soaking? Are rain shoe covers useful, or do the feet just get too hot for comfort?

What are your suggestions for riding in the rain?
1) Wiping down your bike?  You are touring, your bike is supposed to get dirty.  I don't care if you are on a 10 year world tour, you are not going to wipe down your bike.

2) Lube the chain in the rain?  Nope.

3) Rain shoe covers?  Yes, they are useful.  When you are riding in the rain you want to maintain a comfortable temperature--not stay dry, which is impossible.  At times shoe covers, pants, and a hood are necessary to stay warm.  At other times, pants and a hood will make you feel like you are riding in a sauna.  Don't use cotton anything when touring.  Cotton kills.



Offline indyfabz

Re: Rain
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 10:24:21 am »
For the whole bike, it's possible to get a bike cover.  I use one when it rains at work when commuting, but it's too heavy and bulky to tour with, plus I'm not sure where to stash 40 square feet of wet bike cover.

I have in the past carried a cheap, plastic tarp with gromets.  Maybe 5x7 or so.  Comes in handy when there is no dry ground to sit on.  You can also string it between trees to create a dry place to cook.  I have also used it to cover the bike.  It won't completely cover the thing, but if you use bungees I can get most/all of the important parts of my 60 cm bike covered.  It folds down small enough to fit under your my tent, which goes  on my rear rack parallel to the bike.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Rain
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 07:20:34 pm »
Some good advise here. I agree with pretty much everything said. One thing I will add. Overshoes, I don't care which brand, will help keep your feet warm they will not keep them dry. Like others I recommend Smartwool socks, cotton is worse than useless in the wet. I used to use long nylon overpants and got as wet under them as if I hadn't bothered. Interestingly on a tour round Washington State on the third downpour I decided not to bother with overpants, strange to say my feet were noticeably warmer without overpants. I don't know what was going on but it worked that way for me. Possibly the pants were catching rain and diverting the water to my feet somehow. Unless you plan on touring in winter I think bare legs are best. Oh and yes, forget the bike cleaning. If you have to have a clean bike it may be best not to tour.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Rain
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2011, 11:09:05 am »
Like others I recommend Smartwool socks, cotton is worse than useless in the wet.
Some love Smartwool or similar wool socks.  I found that I hated them.  Took synthetic socks and wool on the TA and mailed the wool home.  I found the wool ones to dry slowly, to be less comfortable, not be any warmer, and to smell much worse.  I like the cheap low cut, polyester, under armor ones that come 4 pair to a pack.

My advice would be to try both wool and polyester ones to see which work best for you.  Don't even consider cotton ones though.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Rain
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2011, 02:15:42 pm »
I usually find that rain is not that much of an issue on a regular basis, but it can be a very big issue, and storms that bring rain, hail, and tornadoes can be very big issues. There is rain and there are rain storms with thousands of bolts of lightning slamming to earth. I did the ST one summer with only 35 minutes of rain all the way across, and that was in Slidell, LA. I did the ST again in the winter of 2009-10 and I had many many days of rain in FL, AL, MS, and LA. Rain happens, more in some places than others. A lightweight poncho will keep you dry enough in summer at the lower elevations. Get up in the Rockies in summer and it's another matter.

Offline happyriding

Re: Rain
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2011, 09:23:30 pm »
Quote
How would my beloved Brooks saddle survive an overnight soaking?

How does your Brooks saddle feel about being soaked with sweat and/or chamois cream for 7 hours a day?  Your Brooks saddle probaly likes getting a shower once in awhile. :)   

You could always use the plastic bag you used to carry your groceries out of the store to protect your saddle from rain at night.


Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Rain
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2011, 07:44:00 am »
Lots of good advice. Thanks. Sometimes I over-think things. I bought some Under Armor socks (mail order). We'll see. When I was a kid, I wore nylon socks. I hated them. But that was a loooong time ago.

Offline DaveB

Re: Rain
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2011, 09:01:46 am »
Overshoes, I don't care which brand, will help keep your feet warm they will not keep them dry.
Absolutely right.  Your feet can remain warm but, in a prolonged rain they WILL be wet, no matter what you wrap them in.  Also, synthetic socks (polyester or acrylic) or wool blend, are mandatory for any riding, not just wet conditions, IMO. 

Let the bike get dirty and relube the chain after it dries out.  It's a tool, not a work of art.

Offline happyriding

Re: Rain
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2011, 06:25:49 pm »
Like others I recommend Smartwool socks, cotton is worse than useless in the wet.
Some love Smartwool or similar wool socks.  I found that I hated them.  Took synthetic socks and wool on the TA and mailed the wool home.  I found the wool ones to dry slowly, to be less comfortable, not be any warmer, and to smell much worse.
For me, Smartwool socks were very comfortable, however I too found that they took forever to dry, and they smell just as bad when they are dirty.  In addition, my big toe wore a hole through them, so I am not a big fan of wool socks.   In fact, Smartwool socks barely contain any wool at all, so what's the point
« Last Edit: June 02, 2011, 06:28:12 pm by happyriding »